14 March 2008

“Waterfront City”, the latest development presented by United Arab Emirates (UAE) real estate development giant Nakheel will be the world’s biggest urban project. The project will feature a central island and four districts around it, and it will host at least 92,000 residents and 300,000 people who will work there. One-third of the entire surface area (330ha) will be developed in offices, the hotel sector will have 11% of the available space while trade and culture will have 6% and 5% respectively of the entire area.

“It will have a density similar to the one of Manhattan therefore the residential, commercial and cultural spaces will overlap in order to make a compact centre,” Matt Joyce, Waterfront’s managing director, said adding that the city will have a big central park, a mosque and exclusive attractions that will allow the residents and visitors to enjoy a vibrant cosmopolite city round the clock.

The island will be divided by a grid of five roads which will guarantee that the distances will be easily covered while walking and that the course of the traffic will be fluid. On the Island, as well as in the four other districts – the Boulevard, the Madinat Al Sur, the Resort, and the Marina – each block will have porches and tree-lined roads still preserving their design character, the architects explain. In order to optimise the climate control, to use the local winds and to assure as much shadow as possible, the designers concentrated the biggest buildings (144 skyscrapers over 100 metres high) on the southern side of the complex.

“The infrastructure works will begin in June and the City will be completed by 2018,” project director Frank Konings said, adding that the subcontracts has not been awarded yet and the sales have not been launched. The City will pulse in the centre of the Waterfront mega project, an impressive piece of land divided in five islands that will lie in the water south of the emirate forming a crescent around the Palm Island of Jebel Ali. Once completed, the ambitious project of coastal engineering, the Waterfront, will extend the coasts of the emirate by 820km (12 times the length of the natural coastline) and will develop a surface bigger than the territory of Beirut.

In January, Nakheel announced the creation of ‘Universe’, an archipelago of artificial islands inspired by the solar system, which will be located between the Palm Islands of Jumeirah and Deira, also created by Nakheel.